The fish fillets must be no thicker than 1/2 inch. You MUST use a solid cast iron skillet. Be forewarned that the cooking process will create great clouds of smoke. Use only dried herbs in this recipe.
- 6 redfish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick, skinned
- 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red (cayenne) pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf thyme*
- Curly parsley sprigs
- Lemon wedges
* If you use salmon, substitute dill weed for the thyme in the butter sauce.
- Place fish fillets on a cutting board; trim off any thin edges and very thin tip of tail. If left on, these thin areas will char and break away.
- Pat fillets dry with paper towels; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. The butter sauce adheres better to cold fillets.
- In a heavy 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; add lemon juice, cayenne, salt, black pepper and thyme. Stir to blend seasonings; cool to lukewarm.
- Place an empty 10 inch cast iron skillet over HIGH heat until bottom has a definite white haze and begins to smoke slightly.
- Remove fish from refrigerator; dip 1 fillet in warm butter sauce, coating well.
- Place fish in hot skillet, taking care that spits and spatters do not burn you. The fish will sear and cook almost immediately.
- Turn fillet over; blacken other side.
- Repeat with remaining fillets, cooking no more than 2 at a time.
- Reserve remaining butter sauce.
- As fillets are cooked, place them on individual plates; keep warm. Remove and discard any accumulated butter sauce and charred bits between batches.
- When all fish have been cooked, quickly remove skillet from heat; discard any accumulated butter sauce and charred bits.
- Immediately place empty skillet back on heat.
- Add reserved butter sauce; carefully swirl skillet 5 or 6 times to blacken butter.
- Remove pan from heat; drizzle butter over each fillet.
- Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges.
- Serve hot.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings